I’m Afraid This Changes Nothing

When Naomi Klein says things like “Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of world views. Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war,” I am sympathetic. So I expected and wanted to like her magnum opus on climate, “This Changes Everything”. But I don’t. In fact I’m sorely disappointed. I find the book naively optimistic, agonizingly politically correct, and technically uninsightful. Not only is there nothing new here, but the old stuff this book is made of is, I’m afraid, tired and weak. [more]

Climate, Chaos, Confusion

A common question is “doesn’t chaos theory mean you can’t predict the climate”? Or sometimes, just “isn’t climate chaotic”? Here I have to get very careful with language, because a few things are getting confused. There is a way of thinking about these questions that makes sense, but not everybody who talks about them knows it.

52 Pickup

According to Wikipedia, the game 52 Pickup requires at least one player who is familiar with the game and one player who wants to be initiated into the game. The first player, as “dealer”, throws the entire deck into the air so the cards land strewn on the floor. The other player must then pick them up. Other card games sometimes transpose into this game. For an example, a child falling behind in Go Fish or Crazy Eights, or bored by a never-ending game of War, may simply declare “52 Pickup!” and sweep all the cards off the table. So it is interesting how, on the Watts Up site, a list of 52 highly miscellaneous climate-related statements related to “the hiatus” are strewn about randomly, as if by a petulant child losing a game. Your correspondent dutifully picks them up, but only because a prominent scientist appears to have been misled by this trick, and is misleading others. [more]

Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that Tesla in your hand?

Some notable environmentalists have been ‘against’ Hydrogen as a possible energy solution for a remarkably long time – Joe Romm’s ‘The Hype About Hydrogen’ goes back ten years now, to 2004. The RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute) isn’t keen. In the meantime, other energy solutions have made progress, in particular, as Romm points out in his recent series on ClimateProgress, in the field of personal transportation. But recent developments such as ones at Toyota and Hyundai which look promising. [more]

Is There a Current or Imminent Global Food Shortage?

While environmental change may crimp food production, that has little to do with current food shortages, We’re currently overproducing food crops and throwing them away on our habit of raising animal flesh in the cruelest and most efficient possible way, Globalization means that in the end, your food dollar competes with the food penny of the desperately poor. Your revealed preference in the marketplace is to eat large amounts of meat and dairy products and starve five poor people rather than to share a vegetarian meal with them. [more]